Herbal Medicine For Bloating, Gas, Dyspepsia and Heartburn

Dr. Tasreen Alibhai, N.D.
Dr. Tasreen Alibhai

With summer here in our beautiful city, having digestive symptoms such as abdominal bloating, gas, acid reflux and overall indigestion can be frustrating. Clothes may fit tighter due to bloating, Some people may not be able to enjoy outdoor barbeques for fear of indigestion or acid reflux.

Botanical herbs may be great remedies for a number of different digestive symptoms. Many of these herbs can be found right in your kitchen cabinet and can be added right into your daily diet.

The first group of herbs belong to a class known as digestive bitters. These include plants such as globe artichoke, dandelion, chamomile, turmeric and ginger. These plant extracts support the body’s digestive function including liver, gallbladder and pancreatic enzyme support. They promote bile flow. They may be of benefit in sluggish bowels, constipation, heartburn, poor metabolism of fats and for intestinal infections. Bitters work well when taken as a liquid form, sipped slowly about 15 min before a meal.

Two great herbal remedies for gas and bloating is peppermint and fennel. Other symptoms that may benefit from these 2 herbs include feeling full after a meal, as if food is stuck in the upper areas of your digestive tract. Sometimes it may be accompanied with nausea. Both peppermint and fennel are carminatives. They may be helpful in reducing gas, colic and overall support digestion. These can be taken as a capsule, as a tea or in a tincture. A largescale review of scientific data from 1973 to 2019 showed a beneficial effect of herbs for IBS. Particularly polyphenols which are found in herbs such as peppermint. (1)

There are three herbs that I like to use for acid reflux and heartburn. These include DGL (Deglycyrrhizinated Glycyrrhiza glabra), marshmallow root (Althea officinalis) and slippery elm (ulmus fulva). These can be taken in a capsule or as a tea.

Marshmallow root may be very helpful in soothing irritated mucus membranes in the stomach, for IBS symptoms and inflammatory bowel disease.
DGL is a form of licorice root in a chewable tablet or powder form. It may be helpful in reducing the symptoms of acid reflux and for healing the gastric mucosa. I may recommend DGL taken away from meals to heal the stomach mucosa. In one study 33 gastric ulcer patients who tool DGL three times a day for 1 month had a 78% reduction in ulcer size compared to 34% in the placebo group and complete healing occurred in 44% of those receiving DGL compared to only 6% in the placebo group. (2) I like to combine DGL with the soothing properties of herbs such as marshmallow root and slippery elm.

Botanical medicines may be very helpful in healing the digestive tract in both adults and children. The herbs I have mentioned do have a fairly good safety profile, however please do check in with your Naturopathic or Medical Doctor before starting any new herbal treatment program.

If you do suffer from indigestion, gas, acid reflux and abdominal pain, Vitalia Health Care does offer great laboratory tests to investigate possible underlying causes of the abdominal symptoms. Conditions such as SIBO, imbalance in gut flora, food sensitivities may all play a role in the development of digestive symptoms.

Examples of digestive testing includes:

A SIBO Breath test

GI 360 stool test

Food Sensitivity Testing

Please contact us for more information or to book a consultation with one of our Naturopathic Physicians.

Enjoy the summer months!

Yours in health,